When you think of pumpkins, what comes to mind? Carefully carved Jack-o’-lanterns? A carefully crafted pumpkin spice latte? Pumpkin pie made with love? Or bought with love? There is so much more to this brightly colored and cheerful winter squash.
Pumpkins boast an impressive nutrient profile, making this native North American gourd a nourishing addition to your diet. Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A, which helps strengthen your immune system and fight infections; Vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene, which help keep your skin strong and healthy; fiber, which helps promote stable blood sugar, satiety, and regular digestion; and antioxidants, which neutralize free radical cell damage.
Additionally, pumpkins are incredibly versatile and add the perfect creamy texture to so many much-loved sweet and savory recipes, which is why you’ll often find that canned pumpkin puree gets snapped up quickly in stores each fall. Thankfully, making your own pumpkin puree is really easy!
DIY Pumpkin Puree
- 1 2-3 lb sugar pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
- Water, if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Cut the top and bottom off, and slice the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds. Rinse and set the seeds aside.*
- Brush the flesh of the pumpkin with oil and lay the cut side down on the baking sheet.
- Roast the pumpkin at 350 degrees F until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork, about 40-50 minutes.
- When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and place in a high-speed blender.
- Blend the pumpkin on high, adding water, if needed, a few tablespoons at a time, until the pumpkin is smooth in consistency.
- Store covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.
You can easily double this recipe if you want to make extra pumpkin puree. That’s what I usually do!
*Bonus: Roast the pumpkin seeds by allowing them to dry and then tossing with olive oil and any spices you like. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until crispy, about 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
When I made a big batch a few weeks ago, I made a pie and then used leftovers in chili as well as in yogurt and as a bed for fried eggs. Pumpkin puree is also fabulous in breads, muffins, cakes, and brownies (yes, way).
There you have it: your very own, homemade, can-free pumpkin puree! To which of these healthy pumpkin recipes will you add this deliciousness?